For those unfamiliar with Benito Skinner, a.k.a Benny Drama, he might be one of the funniest people on the internet right now. The 25-year-old influencer is unlike any other and has become known for his uncanny impressions of Kris Jenner and his relatable series on what it’s like to date someone from each astrological sign. He recently told Life & Style exclusively, while promoting SVEDKA Rosé, how his heaven is “dressing up like all the Kardashians” and filming for hours. In doing so, he has tackled frightening fan culture and embraced his sexuality through Kris’ cheekbones and Kylie Jenner’s plump pout.
He Rose to Fame Impersonating Kris Jenner
Although Benny has created a ton of characters that are all hilarious in their own right, there is one character that stands out from them all — Kris Jenner. Instead of just being America’s “cool mom,” Benny added his own twist that makes Kris reign supreme.
“I feel like it’s kind of gone away from just being her. Like I’ve added this weird [element], that she has a deal with the devil portion of her,” he told Life & Style exclusively. Despite the great deal of makeup he uses to transform into the momager, he says, “She’s the easiest to get into.”
“I don’t really need to warm up for that one. So she’s really fun to be. And then, yeah, I think she’s my number one.”
He added that people can sense when a performer loves what they are doing, and since Kris is his favorite, the fans think similarly. “You gotta do something that you love and are excited about,” he explained. “If you’re not, it’s just […] I really doubt it will work or last.”
Including the Kardashians in his repertoire was a pivotal moment for the up-and-coming star. “I did a Kim’s Instagram Stories video, and I had never seen numbers like that before or requests like that. That was pretty crazy,” he recalled. “That kind of felt like, ‘Oh, maybe I can, like, finally quit this awful job I have.’ That was kind of my moment.”
Although Benny is grateful to see his slow rise to Hollywood, he does say that aiming for stardom on social media comes with a price. “I think some people think, you know, you make one video and it goes viral. And then the next day, you’re getting your own show,” he continued. “But you know, I think the internet forgets really quickly. So you kind of have to be viral every week, which can be daunting, but also is a fun challenge.”
He Admits Fans Can Be Pretty Scary
“Fan culture is really terrifying,” the comedian shared when asked how he deals with those displeased by his depictions. He quickly realized that when you are dealing with people’s favorite celebs, you better be prepared for the wrath of angry diehards. “Some of these people I’m like, ‘You do not know this celebrity. So you should probably like, I don’t know, call your mom or something. I don’t know. You need to like fill up your time a little bit differently.'”
Benny admitted that he is a fan of the celebs he emulates as well. Although, the difference between him and the traditional fan, is that he is also a comedian. “So this is kind of my job is to like, poke at pop culture and you know, these celebrities. And so yeah, I think most people understand that it comes from a good place. At least I hope they do,” he disclosed.
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But Fans Have Become Obsessed With His Zodiac Characters
He also noticed that fans react similarly, or perhaps, more aggressively, to his series on astrology where he depicts what it is like to date someone of each sign. “I made the Scorpio one and people really reacted so strongly,” he admitted. “I followed a few astrology accounts, but I had no idea how like, intense people were about it. Which can be great, but also awful. They take it a little personally.”
“It’s so funny to me when signs think that the videos are for them, when I’m really making it more for the people who date that sign. I want them to be like, ‘Oh my god, that is what it’s like to date, you know, my girlfriend, partner, husband, whatever,’” he shared. “But it’s funny when the signs are like, ‘Do Libra. I’m a Libra.’ And I’m like, ‘Why would you want to see me roast your own sign? This is for your partner.'”
Like many of his video ideas, Benny said that his strokes of genius come at random times. However, with his astrology videos, he likes the challenge of working with a guideline to develop a fitting character. “So it’s like, ‘OK, this is, you know, Capricorn.’ And I think that this character, I have Jonathan the City Kid who works for Capricorn. ‘So like, let’s see how those two things can interact.'” He added, “So sometimes it’s fun to have the challenge of like a theme to work with.”
He’s Learned a Lot About Himself Through His Videos
Although Benny is super confident with his identity today, there were times when he fell victim to toxic masculinity. Now, as he embraces his own true self, he has created a character aimed at blowing up unhealthy male stereotypes — Brohana.
“That character feels like, the biggest win, I guess for me. It feels really empowering to kind of look back at that thing. And then be able to kind of like reveal the problems within that character,” he said. “So it feels empowering, I think to kind of like, you know, tackle that again. And laugh at it. And laugh at how ridiculous it is. And I think it is really cathartic for me,” he explained, adding, “I think that’s kind of the beauty of comedy, being able to laugh at it feels like the ultimate power of the day.”
Benny noted there isn’t a single character that has been based off one person, but a combination of personalities. Aside from Brohana, he says all the characters represent a part of him. “I definitely sometimes feel like Shade. That’s why I’m a Scorpio and I made the Scorpio character because I’m like, there’s definitely a 2003 like, Hot Topic goth that lives inside me. So it’s fun to be that sometimes.” In addition to Shade, parts of him relate to Hailee, the white girl who studied abroad, and Jonathan the City Kid, who likes to vacation in the Hamptons and is a little out of touch.
The minute Benny gets into costume, he knows he is exactly where he is supposed to be. After years of repressing his true desires, the positive people around him accepted him to be the performer he was. “A really creative environment kind of allowed me to like get back to that childhood version of myself and feel so free being myself and putting it on video.” He continued, “Once the cap was off, it just exploded. I started making videos and then once I was out, I put on one wig and then it was like, ‘Oh, wait, OK, this feels so right’ and I couldn’t stop and I’ve been, you know, addicted ever since to just being like exactly what I want to do in that moment.”
What sets Benny apart from other influencers is that he never intended on being one. “I never am trying to make people follow my lifestyle, or, you know, I’m never selling anything that I don’t enjoy myself,” he added. But what he does enjoy is being himself, and fortunately, the people love it. Benny has made a career out of impersonating others, when in reality, he’s embracing his true self. Benito Skinner is definitely our favorite character.